Shastri: India must attack struggling Cook

England

Former India all-rounder Ravi Shastri has urged his countrymen to attack England skipper Alastair Cook while he is at his weakest, saying they need to make life difficult in the five-match Test series.

Former India all-rounder Ravi Shastri has urged his countrymen to attack England skipper Alastair Cook while he is at his weakest, saying they need to make life difficult in the five-match Test series.

Cook has been under fire from all fronts recently, after going 24 knocks without a century, losing the Ashes and then the three series against Sri Lanka, and displaying some questionable captaincy tactics.

The now-pundit joined the speculation about Cook's value as skipper, saying India's bowler must go after Cook as a batsman, and then do everything they can to rattle him in the field.

Shastri said: "If you have the leader under pressure always go for him. You need to get stuck in. You have to make the game as tough as you can. As an India player they will want this debate to continue."

He then illustrated his point with the story of David Gower being sacked as England skipper in 1986, after being under pressure before the series against India began.

Shastri said: "With David Gower, all we said was don't let him get runs in the first Test and let the pressure build. He lost the captaincy, India won the series.

All this being said, the commentator felt Cook was very valuable to England as an opening batsman, and felt it would do him more harm to stay on as captain. He said Sachin Tendulkar had a similar problem, and not everyone was made to be skipper.

He said: "Cook is mentally very tough. He'll break all records for England. The question is do you want a captain in Cook who is not playing freely or do you want Cook playing freely as a batsman?

"That is what happened to Sachin Tendulkar. As captain he felt the pressure was getting to his batting and it was taken away."

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